- 10 Minutes with Rafael Nadal (via Details)
Reflecting on his decision to ditch the capris, Nadal says, “I had been using those long shorts from 2005 until 2008. It was, you know, something different and I enjoyed it, but at that point I felt like it was the moment for a change. I felt that I was not a kid anymore.”
At 29, the decision to adjust the length of your shorts might look like growing up. Or maybe it’s the need to prove you’ve still got it, that your talent is still the talent you became known for. Either way, next week we’ll be watching to see how Nadal performs. Win or lose, he’ll walk off that court in Queens and, if we’re lucky, deliver that smile.
Rafael Nadal may be a lowly (for him) No. 8 seed, but he won the US Open the last time he played the event (2013) and is 20-1 in his past three appearances. So yes, count him as a favorite. Nadal meets young sensation Borna Coric in the first round and could meet No. 32 seed Fabio Fognini (who’s beaten Nadal twice this year) in the third round. Nadal could then face Djokovic in another quarterfinals clash — just months after they met in the same round at the French Open.
- 2015 U.S. Open men’s seed report (via SI.com)
Start with the good news: 1) He’s playing all four majors this year, something he has not done since 2011. 2) He was lucky to get this seeding, ensuring that he will not meet a higher ranked opponent until the quarters. 3) He could salvage a dismal season in New York, an event which he has won twice.
- Rafael Nadal’s Struggles Can Be Traced to His Serve (via The Wall Street Journal)
Over the past two years, Nadal is losing more points on his first serve and can no longer sustain his prowess on his second serve (as other aspects of his game also haven’t been sharp.) As a result, his percentage of service games won has plummeted. Nadal ranked second in the statistic (90%) in 2010—winning three Grand Slam titles—but has fallen out of the top 20 (84%) this year.
A positive sign is that Nadal’s return remains as strong as ever. He ranks second in percentage of return games won (33%) behind only David Ferrer (36%) this year. Even Novak Djokovic (32%), widely considered the best returner in tennis today, ranks behind Nadal.
Can Rafa rally at the Open? John: I’m still hopeful he’s going to figure it out. Nadal is going to take a good, hard, long look at himself and try to correct whatever is going on. I am not sure if it is something physical. When I watch him, I get the feeling that explosion isn’t the same as it once was, and that worries me.
- 2015 U.S. Open preview: How Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will surprise us (via oregonlive.com)
His performance over the past nine months certainly has been troubling. That said, once the ball is in play in New York, none of those earlier disappointments matter. He’s still Rafael Nadal, and he’s still a warrior. Plus, recent signs have been generally positive: He’s been moving up in the court, snapping his forehand deeper and deeper. If he can gut out a win over a seeded player early, his confidence could fall into place — and then he’s right there in the mix.
- 2015 US Open: Rafael Nadal practicing with Pablo Cuevas (via CL0896)
- Interview: Rafael Nadal strips down for underwear modelling (via Irish Examiner)
- 2015 Johnny Mac Tennis Project: On-court interview with Rafael Nadal (via SuperProductions18)